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Politics Businesses contribute thousands to backers of Georgia election law after condemning it

12:20  29 november  2021
12:20  29 november  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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A number of businesses that condemned Georgia's sweeping voting rights bill have since contributed thousands of dollars to supporters of the legislation after it was signed in March by Gov. Brian Kemp (R).

a car parked in a parking lot: Businesses contribute thousands to backers of Georgia election law after condemning it © Getty Images Businesses contribute thousands to backers of Georgia election law after condemning it

The Washington Post reported that several companies who criticized the law, which which would tighten voting restrictions, have since donated more than $20,000 combined between April and June of this year to politicians in Georgia who supported the legislation, according to a study by the nonprofit group Advance Democracy.

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The group is led by Daniel J. Jones, a former FBI analyst who headed the Senate investigation into the CIA's use of torture following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

One of those companies that donated money is Comcast. After at least one of the organization's top executives publicly opposed the law, Comcast last month donated $2,500 to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr (R), who defended the legislation.

Kemp in March signed a sweeping elections bill into law that tightened voting rules in the state. Among the provisions are limits to the use of ballot drop boxes and setting photo ID requirements for absentee voting.

A number of states with Republican-led legislatures have since followed suit, enacting their own restrictive voting legislation.

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The Post reported that hundreds of large companies and corporate leaders signed onto a statement in April that said "We Stand for Democracy," which called voting the "lifeblood of our democracy." The statement opposed laws that restrict voting rights, but did not promise to halt donations to politicians who backed the legislation.

While a number of the signatories have avoided donating to supporters of the legislation, including Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, some have been giving money to backers of the bill nonetheless.

McGuireWoods, a Richmond-based law firm, signed on to "We Stand for Democracy" statement, before contributing $250 in April to a Georgia state representative who voted for the voting bill, the Post reported. The group later donated to at least four other supporters of the legislation, including a $2,800 contribution to state Sen. Jeff Mullis (R), who co-sponsored the bill.

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Peter Colon, an executive at Live Nation, an entertainment company that signed on to the statement, also donated $2,000 to Mullis.

Colon defended his contribution, saying in a statement that while he "strongly" supports voting rights, he donated to Mullis "because he has been a strong voice for music in the Georgia Senate and I appreciate the work he did passing a tax credit for musicians who were out of work due to the pandemic."

Trouthman Pepper, another law firm, also signed the statement before contributing to a politician who supported the bill, according to the Post.

The firm wrote in a statement that it "support[s] voting rights for all Americans, oppose any undue and discriminatory restrictions to the ballot box, and stand firmly with those who support full and fair access to the voting process in Georgia and across the country."

Jones questioned the donations from the companies, writing that their statements are "meaningless" considering the contributions.

"Many of the most powerful institutions in our society - global corporations and elite law firms - have made vague statements about supporting voting rights, but these statements are meaningless if these entities continue to fund the politicians behind restrictive voter legislation," Jones wrote, according to the Post.

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